October Issue of the Washington E-Bulletin

October 29, 2010

The October issue of the Washington E-Bulletin is now available on AALLNET. Here is the Table of Contents:

UPDATES FROM THE HILL AND THE GOVERNMENT RELATIONS OFFICE

  • Congress Passes Open Government Bills before Recess
  • Update on Access to Congressionally Mandated Reports Act (H.R. 6026)
  • AALL Expresses Concern about  NARA’s Online Public Access System
  • Online Training on National Inventory Shows Value of Your Contributions
  • October State Working Groups Spotlight: Illinois, Oklahoma and Utah Make Great Progress

FREE TIME WELL SPENT: Further Reading for the Information Policy Junkie

  • Government Accountability Office Releases Two Reports on Challenges Facing NARA
  • Office of Government Information Services Releases Data on its First Year
  • NARA and University of Virginia Press to Post Founding Documents Online
  • EPIC Gives Obama Administration Mixed Reviews on Privacy

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


CREW Finds FOIA Implementation Problems Continue

October 22, 2010

A new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), FOIA at the Mid-term: Obstacles to Transparency Remain, reveals that though there has been some progress since President Obama released his Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act and Attorney General Holder followed up with guidance for agencies, there has not been a major shift in the FOIA culture across the Federal government. CREW surveyed hundreds of FOIA professionals and found that a lack of staffing and funding are the biggest impediments to successfully implementing the FOIA.

We were very pleased when Anne Weismann, Chief Counsel for CREW, joined us in Denver for a panel discussion on “The Future of FOIA” (J1). She expressed at the time her sense that while many pieces to improve FOIA had been put in place under the Obama Administration, there’s still a long way to go to shift toward a culture of government transparency. This report confirms her statements and emphasizes the need for the Administration to continue to take steps to support government agencies in order to improve FOIA processes.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


Aftergood Examines Over-classification

October 19, 2010

2006 AALL Public Access to Government Information (PAGI) Award winner Steven Aftergood, author of Secrecy News, recently published a new article at ForeignPolicy.com examining the current classification system, including the potential impact of the recently-enacted Reducing Over-classification Act (P.L. 111-258).

AALL strongly supports the Reducing Over-classification Act, introduced in the 111th Congress by Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA-36). The new law institutes annual training for classifiers and requires Inspectors general to assess their department’s classification policies.

Though this law takes many positive steps to combat government secrecy, Aftergood highlights some of the changes that are still needed to encourage declassification  and ensure a shift toward greater government openness.

[Posted by Emily Feldman]


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